Sunday, November 9, 2008

Research Day Six - Salt Lake City

The last day of research and we were at the Library just before 8:00 a.m. ready to do research. This would be a full day from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and we were there right to closing. We were both on the International Floor (B1) and the plan was to look at the German parishes first so that I could see the my husband's families at Brohm. This was a great success story for him as he had been working on them for awhile (he has been doing genealogy for over 45 years compared to my 5 years) and just lately (after a family reunion) had concentrated his efforts working on a likely sibling and taking her information back most successfully. His great grandfather was found in the register and the relationship between the two was proven. He had worked his way further back finding their parents' baptisms and the marriage of the parents of his great great grandparents. A little more pushing today and possible baptisms for these individuals to clarify.

On the excel file we had extracted 15 microfilms for his Huguenot families who had emigrated to the New Amsterdam colony in the mid 1600s. They were Huguenots from Isle de Re (an island just opposite La Rochelle in France) and had been researched by others but we wanted to see the original records which were always quoted in research reports. This was successful for some and not so successful for others. But in total it was an excellent morning of research as it was the first time that I had spent with actual German Parish records films and French Parish record films. We went off to lunch and on returning went our separate ways with me returning to the British Floor (B2).

On my last day there, I wanted to do a little extra research that hadn't been in my excel file. Researching in Yorkshire had revealed a couple of new ancestral locations - Great Driffield being one of them and I wanted to look at the Parish Registers to see if I could move further back with this family. I am getting back quite a way now with this family and was reading the register back into the early 1700s. I had spent a couple of weeks reviewing my early English paleography to be ready for this event and found it fairly straight forward to move backwards through the records. The venture was most successful yielding the marriage of the parents in Great Driffield, the bride's baptism in Great Driffield and most fortunately the priest had noted that the groom was from Hutton Cranswick. I continued reading back into the Great Driffield Register and found the marriage of the bride's parents and her three siblings' baptisms. Two new surnames to add to my growing list of surnames for Yorkshire. I then pulled the parish register for Hutton Cranswick and found the groom's baptism there along with the marriage of his parents and his siblings' baptisms (four). I spent a while looking at these registers searching for the marriages and baptisms and at a later date will review the burial registers.

My purpose this time was to find information on my 4x great grandparents (their parent's names and marriage date) and I was back to the 6x great grandparents with this research effort. It was most interesting though the find all the details and it is a good start for our next research trip to Salt Lake City. When we were reviewing the film on our excel file we made little notes and turned the entry a different colour so that we would know what we had looked at and what we had left out. I have proven back to my 3x great grandparents on all lines (one line is a bit shaky (my mother's mother's mother's line and is based solely on family lore and census plus the registration records that I have from the GRO)). I had hoped that I might be able to clarify this line a little more but it remains somewhat elusive. My mtDNA, which is this line, is relatively uncommon and found primarily in people who trace back to Argyll Scotland and Antrim Ireland. It would appear to be Scot-Irish and certainly many many of the people who moved from Scotland to Ireland in the late 1600s and early 1700s made their way to the Midlands of England (with some coming down directly from Scotland) where I am basically brickwalled. It makes for interesting research though I must admit and I am learning more and more about Birmingham and the counties around Birmingham. Although I have a tentative line back for my great grandmother based solely on family lore, I did not look up any of these individuals yet. The traceback takes me to Shropshire and several smaller villages outside of Birmingham. I had decided before I came that I would not pursue this line without further proof of the parents of my great grandmother than I currently have.

I also spent some time on the Library computers looking at their databases - in particular FindMyPast and the Dockland Ancestors database which had yielded up some of my ancestors at long last hidden to me until I wrote to the London Metropolitan Archives requesting a search of the St Mary Magdalen Parish Registers (Surrey) for information on my family line there. Now the transcribed records were finally on line and I made a few discoveries there.

Surprisingly this had taken me the afternoon and on into the evening because I also pulled out the Poor Law Records and had a look at them. These families were principally farmers (husbandmen and yeoman) so were listed in these records as paying the poor rate. My husband came down around 7:00 p.m. to see how my afternoon had progressed and to let me know of his work. By now the library was becoming fairly deserted (Saturday evening seems to be a fairly quiet time in the library). I had been looking for a couple of books but hadn't found them but my librarian trained husband had found them quite quickly and helped me to photograph them.

One in particular was the West Hampshire Subsidy returns and I had tried to find this book on microfiche or a republication without success for a couple of years. I had heard from others online that it was a handy way to "line" up your families in this area (this proved to be very true once I arrived home and extracted my family lines). I spent the rest of the evening working with this book and a couple of others that were about my villages. A journal that had been published about Bewcastle, Cumberland proved to be most interesting with about twenty articles in total that related to my ancestors there. Another publication was Rugeley Remembered and although it did not go back into the 1700s when my families lived there, the pictures were most interesting and the stories that were related took you back in time to life in this village. Although I strongly suspect that my direct family here ran an Inn they weren't listed but I also know that some of the members were farmers as they were still farming in this area on the census in the 1800s.

We were busy until 8:45 p.m. but finally packed up and on the way back to the hotel we discussed our week at the Library. Absolutely a worthwhile trip but best to be very prepared because the number of records there can quite overwhelm you. I think I was lucky because I knew that I just wanted to be on the British Floor and so wasn't tempted to look at all the other floors. I had planned to spend some time on my husband's records but other than Saturday morning I just didn't make it. When I first arrived on B2 I felt a bit overwhelmed by the rows and rows of microfilm drawers but I had my numbers (not listed separately on this first day) on my computer and this first day I was balancing my computer reading off the films (sorted by country and then by number) that I wanted for Devon. My next time to select films I wrote the numbers down on a slip of paper and that worked very well. Amazingly I never once went to look for a film and found it not there. Since I find very few people researching my names I shouldn't have been surprised but I still was.

That evening we talked about when we would go again to Salt Lake City and we think that next Fall would be the ideal time. It will take us at least all winter to sort through all the records that we picked up. Do we have enough to go back? Yes certainly, I only scratched the surface of some of my family lines.

The next time I would assign a great grandparent line to each day and concentrate on direct family research as this time I concentrated on the county acquiring information on the particular places in which they lived finding the family members as part of this routine. I discovered that I needed to purchase some records as they have not been filmed and I have now started that process for four villages in Devon where I want to trace my ancestors back in the 1600s and the 1500s where the registers go back that far. I did find the Poor Rate Records which are helpful but now want to verify the records found on the IGI for these parishes.

I purposely left out three blocks of research films this time because I would not have been able to complete all my counties if I had decided to concentrate on them. They are already listed for next time and I can add anything new that I find for that interesting pursuit.

Obviously we are now looking at two weeks there as I have eight great grandparents :) . My husband found so much material that he was unable to follow a number of leads that he had simply because the volume of what he found for his searching was sufficient to use up all of his time. He too would find a two week stint to be most useful.

We didn't look around other than our flight in and out so didn't go to Great Salt Lake and we would also like to see the Grand Canyon while we are in that part of the country. We could break up our two weeks of study by taking a couple of days and driving down to the Grand Canyon.

Overall conclusion on our research trip gives it an excellent rating; the Palatines to America group that we went with were very well organized but left us with lots of time to research. This was "German" week at the Library so there were two hour lectures every morning which my hsuband attended. That also used up some of his time but he found them to be helpful with his research. The Orientation Lecture on Monday morning was absolutely excellent and all the people in the library were so very very helpful quickly answering any requests almost before you made them!

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